To be completely honest, I find it completely cliché that I’m finding myself writing about this matchup but it was too entertaining of a game to not discuss it. The Thunder hosted the Warriors Saturday night in Kevin Durant’s first game back in Oklahoma City since he departed to join forces with Steph Curry and company. It was the 3rd duel of the season between the ex-Thunder forward and his old team; yet it was the most anticipated of them all because this was Kevin’s first time back to the city he abandoned in order to chase a ring with a team who has made it to the Finals in the past 2 seasons.
As soon as Durant stepped foot onto the court for warm-ups he was welcomed back with a mixture of cheers and boos from the crowd. The cheering had to have been from the rare amount of Kevin Durant stans that live in Oklahoma these days assuming most of the state disowned him for disposing away the 9 years he spent there after making it seem like he would never leave them.But it became clear that he was tired of Russell’s selfish ways and that showed during the 3rd quarter. When a timeout was called, Durant and Westbrook proceeded to their own benches but not without exchanging trash talk. Durant made a statement to Westbrook in which he replied “I’m coming! I’m coming!” but as a leader he should be saying, “We’re coming! We’re coming!” to show that he’s all about the team. Although, at the same time, I kind of don’t blame the All-Star guard as it is the media’s fault for hyping this matchup to be a Kevin vs Russell duel. Every time they ended up guarding each other the crowd would erupt like volcano explosions in anticipation of a highlight play. Another testament to Russell’s “I’m coming!” reply is that he is averaging a triple-double and has a Player Efficiency Rating of 29.3 which tops the league. And with Enes Kanter out, Steven Adams holds the 2nd highest PER for the Thunder amongst their healthy players. Adams’ PER is ranked 79th in the league though at 17.08. So it’s obvious Russell Westbrook does a lot, if not most of the work for the Thunder. Kevin Durant on the other hand doesn’t really have to worry about carrying any type of load playing with the Splash Brothers and Draymond Green.
With the uneven matchup team-wise, the Warriors pulled away in the 2nd quarter entering half-time up by 23 points. From there, they never looked back and Kevin Durant once again lit up his old team going for 34 points and 9 rebounds. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson both contributed 26 points each. Westbrook tried his best to keep the Thunder afloat in this game going for 47 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists. Victor Oladipo and Steven Adams were the only other Thunder players in double digit points with 20 and 13. Westbrook also was responsible for 11 of the Thunder’s 19 turnovers as it seemed like he was trying to hard to capture the moment of showing the world he never needed Durant. The Warriors had 11 turnovers as a team. They play one more time this season in Oklahoma City on March 20th. We’ll see if the Thunder can find a way to avoid allowing Kevin Durant to have all the fun winning when they play each other on that day.